EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Chicago Bears were not happy with the hit that ended right guard Lance Louis' season, and even mild-mannered coach Lovie Smith publicly upbraided Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen for it. Speaking Thursday for the first time since the NFL fined him $21,000 for the play, Allen reiterated his sorrow that Louis was injured but remained skeptical of whether the hit was illegal.
"My opinion is if there was a defensive player, and there was an offensive player blocking for a running back on the sidelines, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation," Allen said. "But it is what it is. They fined me for it, and again, they viewed it illegal. You move on from it. There was no intent in it. My condolences to him and his family for the injury. You never want to injure anybody. It was what it was, and you move forward."
You could make a reasonable argument that NFL safety rules favor offensive players, but that's a separate issue here. Allen might not have been trying to hit Louis in a way that caused a season-ending injury, but as an NFL player he is responsible for knowing that his hit is precisely the type of play the NFL is trying to outlaw. (We've discussed the NFL's rules for launching at an opponent in a defenseless posture several times this week.) Louis was chasing Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield during an interception return and never saw Allen coming; his left knee buckled on impact and he suffered a torn ACL.
Allen said he spoke with Bears left tackle J'Marcus Webb on the field shortly after the injury and has tried to spread the word that he had no ill intent. Whether the Bears believe him remains to be seen, and the teams will meet again in the Metrodome a week from Sunday.
Asked if he expected any retribution, Allen said: "I don't expect any. If they do, hey, it is what it is."